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   The Twelfth Tone
Area 12 Newsletter                                                               December 2017

In This Issue
From the Chair
Southern Nevada
Southern California
LA Metro
San Francisco Bay Area
Northern California
Northern Nevada
Central California
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It's Here!
Velocity Toffee has returned once again for another holiday season!
Velocity's annual fundraiser is a traditional English toffee homemade from butter, sugar, walnuts and Guittard semisweet chocolate. The toffee comes vacuum sealed in a 1 lb. pop-top can with a resealable lid for the price of $25 per can.
So hurry on over to the Velocity web site (www.velocitybells.org) and get a can (or six...) before it runs out. All online orders are secure through the use of PayPal, and since Velocity is a 501c3 non-profit organization, a full $17 of your toffee purchase is tax deductible. 
As always, we thank you for supporting Velocity in the art of making music with handbells.

 A full service 

handbell store

with music and accessories:



maintenance items



bell tree items

Malmark products


 visit us at




877 426-3235



6603 Queen Ave S, Suite S

Richfield, MN   55423

Handbell Supply 


WestCoast Handbell Supply
is closing September 30th 2017  after more than 20 years of serving  handbell ringers and directors in  Area 12 and other parts of the west coast.

Thanks to all of our customers
for your loyalty.


Mel and Gail
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2017 Publishing Year

The Twelfth Tone  is published the first of each month, except July, by Area 12 of the Handbell Musicians of America (The Guild). The Guild is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the musical art of handbell/handchime ringing through education,  community, and communication. The editor of this publication reserves the right to reject or modify copy.

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Message from the Chair - Tessique Houston

Hello Area 12! 

Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are ready for the scramble of the December season! 

Speaking of giving thanks, I am thankful for...

...all the handbell musicians in my life - those I know well and those I know in passing

...all the great music that will be made this month

...the support of family and friends

...the joy of music being a power to unite us

As we head to the end of 2017, I look forward to wonderful concerts, great times with friends and family, and a bit of time off before diving into the music of 2018.
Until next time,

Tessique Houston
Communiqué - Barbara Meinke, Communications

About that wish list...

Remember last month's article? I'm going to make it easy on you! Next week I'll post on Area 12's Facebook page a prompt...you just comment! We're lurking to see what you say!

What? You haven't liked our Facebook page? Go here. Right now. 
                            Like us on Facebook

Huh? You're not on Facebook? That's ok! Email works too! Send one to me or any other board member (list in side bar below!) and let us know what is on your wishlist for 2018 handbell events. 

Oh, I see, you're the beloved old-fashioned type! Need to phone it in? Call me...I'll connect you with the right person. 951-674-7557. (This is my land line!! Yes I still have one!! You may have to leave a message, but I will get back to you!)

In the meantime, hope your December is Merry and Bright!

Barbara Meinke
Communications Director
Southern NV - Alison Pruett, Regional Coordinator

It's not too late! Join us!

with Christine Anderson
Saturday, January 13, 2018
(challenge ring Friday evening)

click blue title for event details and forms

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Alison Pruett
S Nevada Regional Coordinator

For information on Southern Nevada's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .

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Southern CA - Michèle Sharik, Regional Coordinator

Hi there, SoCal!

I hope your handbell season is chugging away nicely and you're ready for the upcoming holiday rush. Many people travel during the holidays and often ask me where they can hear bells. I'd love to be able to tell them to go see YOUR choir play, so please let me know where and when you're playing, even if it's "just" during a church service! 

Looking ahead to our 2018 Spring Ring: last month's newsletter included the repertoire list and a link to the registration forms. Please don't delay - go download the forms and send them to me soon to guarantee a primo spot on the ringing floor. You may also receive a reminder postcard in the mail. If you get one and have already sent in the registration forms, please do me a favor and share your postcard with another handbell musician so they can attend the event, learn new skills, and share in the fun! Click on the blue link below for all the info.

Saturday, May 19, 2017
Oceanside, CA
KatRyn Howell, conductor

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Have a great holiday! All my best,

Michèle Sharik

For information on Southern California's concerts,  events,
and other opportunities,  click here .  
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LA Metro - F. Thomas Simpson, Regional Coordinator

Like all of us around the world, I too am knee deep in my bell choirs' holiday music!! I hope you will go out this season and see what others are doing in your area! There are many, many concerts in the LA Metro Area. Please see Area 12's website for dates and if you have an upcoming concert, please submit them on our website!!

And PLEASE remember to plan for the LA Spring Ring - registration forms coming soon!! Repertoire list in The Twelfth Tone, Nov. 2017.

LA Metro Spring Ring 
Saturday. April 7, 2018
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
featuring Kathy Ebling Shaw

F. Thomas Simpson
LA Metro Regional Coordinator
For information on LA Metro's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here.
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SF Bay Area - Kendra Scott, Regional Coordinator

Happy Holidays, Bay Area!

Last month I asked what the most unique place you'd ever rung was, and Caroline Harnly of the SFSU Handbell Choir responded. She writes:

"I would say that probably the most unique place that the SFSU Handbell Choir played were the times when we played at the San Francisco Zoo.  One time we played outdoors in front of the lemur cages.  It was so windy that we had to turn a human being into a music stand as our conductor's music stand kept falling down!  And we were accompanied by the lemurs screeching away in the background!"

My own community ensemble, Bay Bells, has often performed at the Morgan Hill tree lighting in past years. We would all pile into a flatbed trailer designed to look like an over-sized Radio Flyer wagon sponsored by the local bookstore. The challenge was to keep ourselves and our music stands remaining standing, while ringing carols, as the trailer was pulled around corners and over speed bumps in the holiday parade. Eventually we grew wiser and added chairs to the setup. We're still working out a reliable system for remembering new batteries for the stand lights every year. 

'Tis the season of holiday concerts and we all want a large audience to come hear us play. Our concert calendar is only as good as you make it, so post your events there, and check it out for other events to attend. I'll confess I'm not the greatest at doing it myself, but before the weekend is out, my goal is to get my own concerts up there too. If I can do it, so can you!

May your holidays be filled with family, friends, and good cheer!

Friday and Saturday, April 14, 2018
with Ellie Hodder

Click on the blue title for details and repertoire list

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Happy ringing!

Kendra Scott
Bay Area Regional Coordinator

For information on San Francisco  Bay Area's concerts, events,  and other opportunities,  click here .

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International Handbell Symposium 2018
Northern CA - Nancy Schmitt, Regional Coordinator
Nancy Schmitt

Hello Northern California,

Christmas seems to have come early for the Carillons Handbell Choir in Redding. On November 11
we rang Christmas carols outdoors at Turtle Bay near the Sundial Bridge in conjunction with the Mercy Hospital Guild Gala Fundraiser for the local hospitals and hospice and the Festival of Trees.

The party attendees, dressed in their formal attire, came by trolley from the parking lot to Turtle Bay and, of course, the first sounds they heard were the bells! Local residents (and their dogs) who just happened to be at the Sundial Bridge were treated to early holiday music as well. It was a fun-filled evening!

Please be sure to check the Area 12 calendar for holiday concerts near you. You may post YOUR event on our calendar by clicking here or sending me the information.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas!


Nancy Schmitt
Northern California Regional Coordinator  

For information on Northern California's concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here!
Northern NV - Barb Walsh, Regional Coordinator


I was reading an article in the latest Overtones about recruiting and keeping ringers. Stevie Berryman was one of the contributors and one of the things she said stood out for me - having fun at rehearsals. We spend much more time rehearsing than performing, so ringers (and conductors) want to enjoy rehearsing. This makes perfect sense!

What do you do in your ensemble to have fun and fellowship? One of the things Tintab loves doing is having a retreat day. Our retreats are usually 5-6 hours long, but our last one was 7 hours plus we played at the church service just before. It's a long day of intense rehearsing interspersed with snack breaks and plenty of socializing. This year we had a cheesecake bake off contest - yum! I always encourage everyone to wear comfortable clothes, but Tintab took it a little too literally this time. Imagine my surprise when I walked into our rehearsal space after playing at church and found all of Tintab in their jammies!  And here's the picture to prove it!

Until the New Year!

Barbara Walsh
Northern Nevada Regional Coordinator

For information on Northern Nevada's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here
Central CA - Christine Anderson, Regional Coordinator

Greetings, Central California!

By now y'all are probably in the midst of holiday rehearsing and planning. I hope you won't be overwhelmed with too much to do, and can take time to contemplate the WHY we do all this.

Are you pulling out music from last year, something you haven't rung  in 11 months ? My first Christmas concert this year is in Oklahoma City on  December 3  - only days after my last regular performance. Not much time to get muscle memory cracking! One way to keep an old piece remembered is to every now and then rehearse it "out of season," just for the fun of it. Are you working on something new? How about taking an easy piece and throwing in some special effects that aren't written in? Add some gyros and spirals on long notes (ask me about those!), turn chimes upside down and strike (gently!) with a soft mallet for a totally different sound, or exchange chime and bell parts. Or invent something new. Here's an idea...insert little bells into thin baby socks for stopped sounds and call it "sockato"! And in the lull between Christmas and...say February...ring through a bunch of new music, trade positions, just have some fun with handbells with no performance in sight.

Happy Ringing!

Christine Anderson
Central California Regional Coordinator

For information on Central California's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .
Hawaii - Karen Carlisle, Regional Coordinator
Karen Carlisle

We are all gearing up for the holidays. Christmas music is in full swing. Thanksgiving sometimes gets really lost this time of year. I want to share what I am thankful for. I am thankful for all my handbell ringers in all my groups and that I have the opportunity to ring with them and teach them. I have a great appreciation for my kids' groups and being able to teach them and give them the opportunity they would never have gotten. Another of my blessings was the opportunity of flying to the Big Island and working with some amazing kids at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. For two days I worked with 75 kids ages kindergarten to 8th grade. I introduced the middle school students to Kirtsy Mitchell's Scary Things, one of my middle school group's favorite songs. They were so excited about it they wanted to play it for the entire school the following Monday, which they did with a little choreography! They also played it in the mall with their Christmas music. I was able to give encouragements to their wonderful teacher, Georgia. She has a great program with so much potential. One of the boys in her group made my day and helps remind me that what I do is important by saying "I wish you could stay longer." I am hoping to go back next year. I do want to wish you a Merry Christmas Please take a look at our calendar of concerts happening on Oahu.

Merry Christmas!

Karen Carlisle
Hawaii Regional Coordinator

For information on Hawaii's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .
cartoon bells